BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
PREMIER Collin Singamoana of Rennell and Bellona province clarifies speculations that the companies APID and BMSI, which are involved in mining and logging, are now into fisheries harvesting in the province.
Responding to Island Sun queries, Premier Singamoana says the new company in the Renbel scene is a new investor of the province which is interested in fisheries, especially in the Indispensable Reef and both islands.
The People’s Fisheries Solomon Islands (PFSI) is a Chinese-based company, which Singamoana says is registered locally and is interested in the province’s fisheries – reef fish and lobster (live catch).
Premier Singamoana says PFSI first approached the province towards the end of 2016 with a request to survey the Indispensable Reef and the two islands.
However, the province did not get back to them with a response, and the company returned before the end of 2017 following up on their request.
Premier Singamoana said earlier this year he granted the PFSI a one-day trip to the Indispensable Reef for the purpose of surveying.
However, recent posts on Facebook forums have misled public with the claims that APID and BMSI were moving onto harvesting the province’s fisheries resources.
Singamoana refutes these social media speculations, reminding the public of Renbel to seek facts first before posting up misleading information.
“APID and BMSI are innocently being condemned on social media because someone decided to post up few pictures with false statements.
“The company in question is the People’s Fisheries Solomon Islands, which is Renbel’s newest investor. And it is interested in catching reef fish and live lobsters.
“This investment is projected to help both islands, since the company will employ locals as divers or fishermen, and will also purchase catches by people.”
Renbel province government is awaiting the PFSI’s report from its one-day trip to the reef, which is expected next week.
After this, the company would then put forth its application for fishing and business licence to the provincial government.
This year is a regarded by pundits as a ‘tough year’ for the country’s provinces, and Rennell and Bellona being the smallest province in Solomon Islands stands and with a low economic drive, stands to be worst hit.
This is because the national government has slashed its assistance to the provinces which is usually channelled through the provincial capacity development fund (PCDF).
A new investor for the Renbel province could provide a much needed boost to the tiny economy.